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Technical Advisory Committee

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is selected to be able to deliver on the Terms of Reference below. It is inclusive of respected subject-matter-experts who can provide rigorous and practical guidance on the overall technical programme for DE Africa. This may include the latest technological trends and emerging issues on topics related to the use of geospatial and earth observation data, big data, data science, citizen generated data, national statistics, data governance and privacy, interoperability and other topics of a similar nature as identified. The TAC must also include domain experts and practitioners who can provide guidance on how DE Africa, for example, can be applied to agriculture, climate change, poverty, the SDGs, etc. and the most effective ways to engage with down-stream communities to deliver maximum impact. The TAC will also ensure alignment with other programmes and initiatives across Africa that can benefit from DE Africa (or vice versa) such as AfriGEO and GMES Africa. This will especially be important for country engagement and capacity building. As a result, the TAC will work closely with the Coordinator and Programme Office to ensure these trends, insights and alignment opportunities are factored into the work programme.

Size and Cadence

TAC membership will be capped at 20 members. TAC members will meet either virtually or inperson twice per year. Beyond these formal meetings, members may be asked to provide support individually to the Coordinator and Programme Office based on needs in line with the Terms of Reference.


TAC membership at inception will be on a 3-year term. Thereafter, the term will change to 2 years. This is to ensure the initial TAC members can provide input to DE Africa as the programme matures through its establishment phase. TAC membership will be rotating, and in order to maintain continuity, 8 of the original TAC members will be asked (by the Chair) to 11 renew their membership for a 2-year term. After this point, all TAC members may renew their membership to a new 2-year term only once. Members may also end their membership at any time based on adequate notification.

Member Selection

Based on the principles and terms of reference, including gender and geographic diversity, the DE Africa Establishment Team will present an initial set of recommended institutions and individuals for TAC membership to the Phase I Steering Committee. The Phase I Steering Committee will approve the list of nominations and provide support as needed for any recruitment needed. Any changes or new memberships will be managed by the TAC co-chairs and the DE Africa Programme Office. Membership will bring a high level of expertise and executive representation from organisations that are direct stakeholders in DE Africa.

The TAC currently has 18 members, and is co-chaired by Geoscience Australia and the South Africa National Space Agency.

Representative Organisation
Andiswa Mlisa (co-chair) South Africa National Space Agency (SANSA)
Brian Killough NASA/Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS)
Ken Mubea Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)
Bako Mamane AGRHYMET Regional Centre
Emmanuel Nkurunziza Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD)
Patricia Cummens Esri
Trevor Dhu (co-chair) Geoscience Australia
Andre Nonguierma The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Philip Thigo Thunderbird School of Global Management - Africa
Omar Seidu Ghana National Statistical Service
Yeama Thompson Right to Access Information Commission
Assize Toure Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE)
Dr. A. O. Akingbane Africa Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology (AFRIGIST)
Stephen Chacha dLab
Solofo Rakotondraompiana University of Antananarivo
Nabil Ben Khatra Sahara and Sahel Observatory
Sandiso Sibisi COOi Studios
Stewart Collis Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Terms of Reference

TAC members will have the following responsibilities:

  • Expert Advice and Guidance
    • The TAC will provide expert advice and guidance to the Programme Office on issues related to: technical and scientific directions; stakeholder engagement at the international, regional, country levels; cross-sectoral engagement, including government, commercial, and community; capacity building, and; the latest trends, issues and research that can further benefit DE Africa’s technical and capacity building programmes.
  • Products Roadmap
    • The TAC will provide input on the work programme and will have particular responsibility to guide the development of products roadmap, a public-facing document that will lay out the agreed products that DE Africa will develop and produce on an operational basis.
  • Alignment opportunities
    • The TAC will also support DE Africa through identifying and creating opportunities for alignment, and growth, and will provide guidance on alignment opportunities for programmes, initiatives and organiations where mutual benefit can be gained in relation to the DE Africa mission and vision.
  • Engagement with Users
    • The TAC will provide the Programme with guidance and support to achieve deep engagement with key users in order to deliver with impact. This engagement is the critical link between information products that DE Africa will produce, and 12 their uptake and use in decision making, across sectors, and will ensure that DE Africa is delivering impact and capacity in line with the vision, mission and goals.
  • Cross-community engagement
    • The TAC will seek to provide cross-community engagement, in particular linking DE Africa to user communities beyond the familiar Earth observation, Geospatial and Statistics communities.
  • Programmatic support
    • Leverage the Stakeholder Community Group when necessary as special topics arise needing further stakeholder input in the form of working groups or task teams.
    • Support resource mobilisation.
    • Support communications and outreach.
    • Nominate and recruit new TAC members as needed.

TAC Co-Chairs

For the first three years of the programme, one of the Co-Chairs of the TAC will be Geoscience Australia. This is to ensure the technical programme aligns with the broader vision for DE Africa and those resources being made available from Australia. After this 3-year period, the new Chair will be nominated through a voting process by TAC members. Core responsibilities of the Co-Chairs include:

  • Convene and chair each TAC meeting working with the Programme Office to develop and distribute the agenda and necessary background documents.
  • Manage and facilitate TAC discussions and bring discussion topics to a conclusion through inclusion of opinions from all TAC members.
  • Oversee the membership process including renewals and cycle turnover.
  • Ensure TAC members are participating to the extent agreed upon and mitigate any conflicts or disagreements.
  • Based on TAC member approval, extend invites as necessary to observers to participate in TAC meetings.


View the full Digital Earth Africa Governance Framework.